Freeze on Aman Futures bank accounts may be extended

Posted at 11/28/2012 1:26 PM | Updated as of 11/28/2012 3:23 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The 20-day freeze order handed down by the Court of Appeals (CA) on the bank accounts of officers of Aman Futures Group Philippines, Inc. may still be extended should government, through the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), show cause for such extension.

In a 12-page resolution by the Fourth Division, dated Nov. 20, penned by Associate Justice Ramon Garcia, the appellate court set a hearing with the AMLC and respondents Manuel Amalilio, Aman Futures founder, the firm's sister companies and allied firms, several other officers of Aman Futures, and several banks.

"In order to determine whether or not the instant freeze order shall be modified, lifted or extended, a hearing is hearing is hereby set on Dec. 3, 2012 at 1:30pm at the Paras Hall, main building, Court of Appeals…," the resolution read.

The same resolution handed down the freeze order sought by the AMLC on the bank accounts of Amalilio, Aman Futures Group Phils., Inc, Aman Future Trading, Aman Air, Inc., Lurix Bitoon Lopez, Lelian Lim Gan, Uni Gen Future Exchange Marketing, Eduard Lecaros Lim, William L. Fuentes, Naezelle M. Rodriguez, Fernando Roda Luna, Fretz & Sha Trading, Rioklyn P. Toledo, Jerome John D. Valera, Jerome B. Sanchez, Nino Jorino D. Ledesma, Rico Crisostomo Medina, Jr., Diosdado Manolo Yap Dybongco, Michelle Gaceta, Nimfa Caballero Luna, and Asaza Auto Center.

The banks covered by the order are: Allied Banking Corp., Banco De Oro Unibank, Inc., Bank of Commerce, Bank of the Philippine Islands, BPI Family Savings Bank, China Banking Corp., Citibank N.A., Development Bank of the Philippines, East West Banking Corp., Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp., Land Bank of the Philippines, Maybank Phils., Inc., Metrobank Card Corp., Metrobank and Trust Company, One Network Bank, Inc., Orix Metro Leasing and Finance Co., Philippine Bank of Communication, Philippine Savings Bank, RCBC Savings Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Security Bank Corp., Standard Chartered Bank, Union Bank of the Phils. And United Coconut Planters Bank, Philippine National Bank, and BPI Philam Life Assurance Corp.

The above-mentioned banks were also directed to submit to the appellate court and to the AMLC, within 24 hours from receipt of the resolution, a return of their compliance containing all relevant information on all the frozen accounts and deposits.

The petition for issuance of a freeze order filed by the AMLC stemmed from the results of the agency's probe which showed probable cause that "the acts of respondent Amalilio and his co-horts in defrauding and misappropriating funds solicited from the general public constituted syndicated estafa."

The respondents, by operating without a license, also committed violations of Republic Act (RA) No. 8799, also known as the Securities Regulation Code of 2000, the appellate court pointed out.

The AMLC's move was in response to a formal request from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for all pertinent data on the bank accounts of respondents. The NBI, in a letter to the AMLC dated July 9, pointed out that "the said bank accounts… were being utilized in the modus operandi of enticing unscrupulous persons and groups to invest in their (respondents) operation wherein investors will earn more or less 30% of their capital within a span of eight days."

"Ultimately, the information gathered by the AMLC from the evidence submitted, in addition to its previous findings and database searches, showed that the bank accounts subject of this petition… were used and involved in respondents' criminal activities," the resolution stressed.

Aman Futures is said to have duped some 15,000 individuals who invested a combined amount of not less than P12 billion.

Amalilio and several officers of the firm had been charged for syndicated estafa before the Dept. of Justice (DOJ).